WHAT’S COMING UP
DAYTON: Gov. Mark Dayton has no public events on his schedule.
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY
BRODKORB LIST POSTED, REMOVED: A list of 10 Senate members who are alleged to have had affairs during their time at the Capitol was posted and later removed, according to the Associated Press, which reported exclusively on the latest turn in former staffer Michael Brodkorb‘s discrimination lawsuit. The list was apparently posted inadvertently by Brodkorb’s legal team, and was taken down, but not before AP reporters were able to download the document. The Associated Press contacted Senators whose names appeared on the list, nine of whom have since left the upper chamber; in the end, the AP opted against publishing any of the names. The filing, which was intended to buttress Brodkorb’s claim that other staffers had slept with legislators and had not been fired, met with immediate criticism from the Senate side. Attorney Dayle Nolan told the Star Tribune that the Senate would seek sanctions against Brodkorb’s team for violating a court-issued gag order on the case; in a subsequent interview, Brodkorb said the publication was an accident, and that he and his lawyers had always planned to keep the names on the list confidential.
FRANKEN’S FUNDRAISING: DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken announced yesterday that he raised $2 million in the second quarter of 2013 and has $3 million in the bank, making public the top-line figures that will be submitted to the Federal Elections Commission next week. Franken’s numbers give him a decided edge over GOP opponent Mike McFadden, who opted to publicize his own fundraising haul of $700,000 last week; notably, McFadden, a first-time candidate, raised that figure in only one month, having declared his candidacy in late May. In a statement accompanying the announcement, Franken’s campaign said the money came from 30,000 different donors, 13,000 of whom were contributing for the first time. The third declared candidate, Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, has yet to release his fundraising totals for the quarter.
PEDERSON CD6 EVENT: Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, made his 6th District Congressional campaign official with a public event yesterday, welcoming reporters and supporters to an area technology business that had recently expanded, according to the St. Cloud Times. Pederson said his candidacy would focus on jobs and economic issues, and declared his interest in seeing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, which he said would go some distance toward “[reversing] this perilous fiscal course that our nation is on.” Asked about the relatively strong fundraising numbers posted by 6th CD GOP candidate Tom Emmer, who announced he raised $220,000 during three weeks in June, Pederson conceded that Emmer “has come out fast,” but added, rather optimistically, “I believe slow and steady wins the race.” Among those on hand to mark the occasion were Sen. Michelle Fischbach, R-Paynesville, and former state House member King Banaian, Minnesota Public Radio reports.
WINKLER ON JOBS: Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, floated an idea yesterday that could become a piece of his 2014 agenda as chair of the House Select Committee for Living Wage Jobs, according to Minnesota Public Radio. Following a hearing of that panel, Winkler said he wants to see future state economic development subsidies tied to an agreement that the business receiving that support would hire currently unemployed people to fill open positions. Winkler said that with strict enforcement, such a measure could help to improve “the race disparities in employment and income in Minnesota, which is among the worst in the country.” Winkler also said his committee has planned eight more hearings to take place before the opening of the 2014 session.
CALM, THEN CHAOS AT LAST PLACE ON EARTH: The Last Place on Earth, the Duluth head shop that has been a thorn in the side of state and city officials trying to stop the sale of synthetic drugs, played host to two very different scenes yesterday, both of which were reported on by the Duluth News Tribune. First, as a new city ordinance regulating the sale of those drugs kicked in, the store was found to be mostly empty, with owner and provocateur Jim Carlson telling customers that he couldn’t sell “incense” products until a judge ruled on a temporary injunction he’d filed against the city ordinance. Later, things took a turn for the strange, when Carlson was attacked by a woman who has been a customer of his in the past, and has purchased synthetic drugs in his store. The woman and her boyfriend assaulted Carlson, leaving him bloodied and woozy, and she was later arrested for fifth-degree assault. In a charitable moment, Carlson said the woman is “a wonderful person when she’s not drinking.”
SIGNS MIGRATING: The controversial signs urging Minnesotans to move west are, themselves, moving east. The head of the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce told the Fargo Forum that its “North Dakota: Open for Business” billboard posted near Fergus Falls would soon come down, but CEO Andy Peterson said the group was also planning to put up another sign in the Minneapolis area. The signs are meant to imply that Minnesota’s booming neighbor to the west has a more business-friendly climate with lower taxes and fewer regulations; the billboards have previously drawn criticism from western Minnesota elected officials and business leaders.
MNSURE FACTOID: With health insurance exchanges now preparing to launch in each of the 50 states, Minnesota seems to have carved out a unique position in the country. According to April Todd-Malmlov, director of MNsure, the state-run exchange, Minnesota is the only state in the country with its own exchange that is surrounded by states which have resisted the idea, and will instead have a federally created exchange. Todd-Malmlov said this means Minnesotans in near-border television markets might see some of the ad campaign the federal government is launching to boost public opinion of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. At some point, those parcels of the state could also turn into mini-battlegrounds for hearts and minds: earlier this month, the libertarian-minded advocacy group Americans for Prosperity announced that it was embarking on a negative ad campaign against the health care law, which will initially hit the airwaves in seven states.
THEY’RE NOW HIPSTERS-IN-TRAINING: The Twin Cities metro area population gained 59,000 new residents from 2010 to 2012, according to MinnPost, which reports on new census figures released by the Metropolitan Council. Of that increase, Minneapolis added 9,430 to bring its total above 392,000, while St. Paul gained 4,202 to hit 289,270 overall. In total, the metro area is now thought to contain some 2.9 million people. “I’m pleased to see growth occurring primarily where there’s infrastructure to support it,” said Metropolitan Council chair Susan Haigh.
LEADERS IN PUBLIC POLICY: Legislators, lobbyists and Capitol insiders were honored yesterday at the Capitol Report/Politics in Minnesota Leaders in Public Policy award ceremony at the St. Paul Hotel. Among those honorees who received notably lengthy and vociferous rounds of applause were nonpartisan House researcher Pat Dalton, who won for “Top Legislative Staffer” in that chamber, and Senate information director Scott Magnuson, who received the “Unsung Hero” award. Rep. Karen Clark, DFL-Minneapolis, got the “Lifetime Achievement” award for her three decades-long work on gay rights issues, which culminated in the legalization of gay marriage this past session. In her speech, Clark recognized legislators who had taken politically risky votes to pass that legislation, some of whom were on hand for the ceremony; she also relayed a lesson she’d learned early in her legislative career, saying never to burn a bridge at the Capitol, because an enemy today could be your ally tomorrow. See the full list of winners here.
ATKINS’ ACHILLES: One LIPP winner couldn’t make it to the event, but had a fine excuse. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, tore an Achilles tendon playing basketball yesterday, a nasty injury Politics in Minnesota learned of during an unrelated interview. Atkins said he wasn’t sure what the injury would do to his schedule in the near term, but expects months of rehabilitation before he’s back to normal. As is his wont, he used the incident for a bit of self-deprecating humor, beginning the interview by saying, “If I have any really strange answers, that might be the Percocet.”